Thailand is Poised to Legalize Medical Cannabis

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The Narcotics Control Board of Thailand is pushing forward with a rewritten draft of the country’s drug laws in order to legalize medical marijuana. The proposed revision, which is currently going through the parliamentary process, will allow medicinal cannabis to be sold over-the-counter for patients with a valid prescription from their doctor.

The draft is currently on its way to the Cabinet for consideration and will ultimately be voted on by the junta-appointed interim parliament. The move is expected to pass without opposition.

“For medical purposes, [patients] will be able to get the marijuana, but only on a doctor’s orders. They can’t grow it on their own,” said Narcotics Control Board director Sirinya Sitdhichai on Tuesday. “This is what we have put in the draft.”

Thailand’s public health department and the country’s  law enforcement agencies have stated no opposition to the move, which is in stark contrast to previous policy in the Asian nation. The old method of drug policy in Thailand consisted of incarceration and, in some cases, execution.

In 2016, previous Justice Minister of Thailand Paiboon Koomchaya declared the war on drugs to be a failure, which opened the door to a conversation about what to do next. Despite these discussions, complete legalization of adult-use cannabis is still an ongoing debate.

“Doctors in our country are still divided into two opinions,” said Sitdhichai. “Some fear that if we legalize it for recreational use, children may use it, and it may impact their brain development. We are looking at both the good and the bad.”

This is not Thailand’s first attempt to address cannabis laws, either. The country has long been looking at relaxing laws surrounding the plant. In August 2016, the government discussed decriminalization as a possibility, and since that time laws have been changed to allow farmers to grow hemp.

For the moment, it’s clear that the Narcotics Control Board is making a valiant effort to usher in a new era of medicine for Thailand. Once adopted, the country will be one of the first in Asia to do so.

About Author

Jon Hiltz was a journalist for Marijuana.com for two years and is now director of content for INDIVA, a licensed cannabis producer in Ontario Canada.

4 Comments

  1. I plan to retire in Thailand , should I get a prescription from a home [ Canada] doctor , or a Thai doctor , or both? Is there a high risk for tourists to still get arrested for smoking , or are the police turning away like they mostly do here? Thanks

    • It’s still highly illegal here and you will be arrested for even the smallest amount. No point getting a prescription from a Dr anywhere until that changes.

  2. Meet a trustworthy local and you’ll have no problems (and plenty of locals smoke weed in every area of the country). Lived there 10 years until recently and visit regularly and have never had any issues, only person I knew got caught got grassed by his bitter ex after a bad breakup. Don’t listen to the scaremongers, but obviously be careful and sensible especially with regards to where you smoke. Police there look at it as a way to get a bonus from stupid tourists who are not subtle in how they try to obtain it, smoke it etc. Use your common sense and you’ll be fine.

  3. Great article, and it’s about time Thailand (and the rest of the world) woke up. When I was a teen, back in the 70’s, my mom and dad gave me an album on how pot is as dangerous as LSD and Heroin, and would cause severe brain damage. Now, doctors can prescribe it in 29 states in the US, completely legal for recreational use in California and other states, it’s pure folklore and myth to think pot is dangerous in any way. Show me one bit of evidence of a single person overdosing and dying from a joint (and no other possible causes). You can’t, because pot is completely harmless. The argument you can smoke too much is as silly as saying water is dangerous because you can drown or drinking too much can, believe it or not, kill you. Even food, such as greasy French Fries, are more dangerous than smoking a joint. I must give Thailand credit, they are now realizing the truth about pot, and hopefully, soon about other drugs that are far less dangerous than cigarettes, which are legal in Thailand, why? They are far more dangerous and unhealthy than pot, so what’s with the double standard, you can smoke yourself to death with tabacco, but not pot? Explain that! (easy, actually, it’s called “let’s make money by selling them products that give them lung cancer and other rather nasty illnesses”. Governments lie when they say they are in it to protect the public, hogwash! They are in it to steal your money, in the name of protecting you, people wake up!).

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